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The Biggest SEO Keyword Research Mistakes You Might be Making

Is keyword research important?
The answer is: IT’S SUPER IMPORTANT!

Keywords play a fundamental role in SEO and Google ranking, so there is no doubt that keyword research is vital. You should conduct thorough keyword research before you start writing your content essential.

Usually, many of us make stupid mistakes during keyword research. Either we don’t do any research at all, or we do it after we’ve already finished writing the content, which is relatively late, or we conduct completely incorrect research. Therefore, if you want to make everything right, first, you have to ask yourself what your goal is? Do you want to increase your sales? Do you want to build awareness and brand recognition? Maybe your goal is to generate more traffic and organic reach? Perhaps you want to generate more leads? You need to determine your goal first. And after that, in addition to your goals, you must figure out at what phase of the sales funnel your target audience is at the moment. Because simply put, you can’t expect to increase sales for a brand that your target audience has never heard of.

There’s no doubt that conducting good keyword research is essential. And I know that to err is human, but to save you the trouble, I created a list of six keyword research mistakes to avoid, which you can find below.

6 Keyword Research Mistakes You Should Avoid

Here’s the breakdown of the keyword research mistakes you should avoid:

1. Not Thinking About the Search Intent

You should constantly explore what your target audience wants, and try to listen to and understand your potential customers’ needs.

Always assess the search intent.

What does this mean? Well, think about what really happens if someone’s searching for pizza? Do they want to buy pizza, are they looking for a pizza recipe, or maybe they’re curious about the number of calories in a single piece of pizza? Depending on the search intent, you can decide on what type of content you need to create and offer for that particular keyword.

One of the simplest ways to assess search intent is to perform your own search for the query and examine the results. What type of content does Google (or whoever search engine you’re using at the moment) display first? Are those blog posts, how-to pages, or sales pages? Then, you should rely on those results and focus on creating a similar type of content. Because Google, as we all know, is constantly learning and improving. Thus, you can be confident that the results it returns are relevant to what people are seeking when they search for a specific phrase.

2. Not Targeting Long-Tail Keywords

While targeting a more generic keyword can help you get more traffic, it isn’t always the best choice. Because, what good is it if you get more visitors but no conversions? And there is a clear distinction between someone searching for “pizza“, “best thin crust pizza“, and “best cheap thin crust pizza near me“. Just think for a second, which of these three searchers is closest to buying? The third person practically has his card in his hand, ready to place an order.

Hence, if you use “pizza” as your keyword, it will be like shooting in the dark. But if you use “best thin crust pizza” as your keyword, you can be sure that whoever comes to your site is here to buy.

But, don’t forget that using only long-tail keywords in your content is a double-edged sword. It has its pros and cons. Therefore it is best to make a combination of both short and long-tail keywords.

3. Focusing On Only One Keyword

While you should have one primary keyword for your web page or blog article, you don’t need to stop there. Sure, every page should have one main keyword, and the focus of the content should be around that keyword. But why not go one step further? Yes, you should seize the opportunity to rank for more than one keyword or keyword phrase.

This way, you would eliminate the possibility of making a mistake and not targeting the right people. For example, suppose you own a massage business and use only “onsite massage” as your primary keyword. In that case, you’ll miss the opportunity to rank for “office massage”, which is the query that people are usually searching for.

However, let us not be misunderstood. Keywords should also not be overused. If you’ve already heard the SEO joke “An SEO copywriter walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor…” you should know that it’s a joke for a reason!

PLEASE don’t overstuff your content with every possible keyword. 🙏

4. Not Using Local Keywords

You could lose a significant number of potential customers if you make a mistake here. It would be best to make your keywords more localized to improve the number of visitors to your website or store.

Many people are using their native language or add their current city or country when searching for something. So instead of using simpler keywords like “pizza delivery”, “best web hosting company” or “free food delivery” you should spice things up a little. In this case, you can use “pizza delivery clarksville, tn” or “best web hosting company in ch” or “бесплатная доставка еды в санкт-петербурге”. 

Moreover, you should look out for whether your potential customers use some kind of jargon or slang. If they do, you should adapt your content to your target audience.

For example, if you’re selling barbeque equipment, usually you’ll use some universal keywords such as “barbeque equipment”, “BBQ equipment”, “grilling tools”, etc. However, if you want to add an article for perfect grilled sausages, and your audience is in Australia, then besides keywords like “easy barbeque sausage recipes” or “perfect bbq sausages”, you should add keywords like “best queensland snag recipe “, “drowning aussie snags recipe”, “barbie snags”, etc. Because only there you can hear the phrase “Chuck some extra snags on the barbie!”, which in France, for instance, wouldn’t make any sense.

So learn well who your target audience is and how they search, then adapt the content according to that information.

5. Not Understanding the Language of Your Audience

This one right here is tricky. By language, I don’t mean the language in which your target audience communicates. Of course, as we saw in the last section, this is also important. But I’m referring to how your audience expresses themselves, do they use professional terms or not much.

You must pay attention to what your target audience is searching for, what difficulties your product or service might be able to solve for them, and where they most frequently seek solutions to those problems. Because every now and then, we ask for help on platforms such as YouTube, Quora, or even Twitter. And when we do, we even use different search terms. So do your research on other platforms (not just Google) and determine some new keyword phrases that you can use in your content.

And just to be clear, sometimes your potential customers don’t even know they need your product. All they know at the moment is that they have some kind of problem and are seeking a solution to that problem. For instance, if you offer a specific product, such as a back massager, your target audience is someone with back pain. And John has back pain, but at that moment, he does not know that he actually needs a back massager. Therefore, when he’s searching, he does not enter a “back massager” but initially enters something like “back pain” or “how to reduce lower back pain”. Hence, targeting only the keyword “back massager” is not such an amazing idea.

Listen to your (potential) customers’ needs.

6. Not Looking at Your Competition and PAA

Why not follow in the footsteps of your competitors? They’ve already been there; they’ve done that. You should evaluate your competition and look at the keywords that the top-ranking websites are using. Try to analyze everything. What consumer problems has your competition handled, and how has it done so? And take a look at the content they provide; they must have considered the search intent of their audience. You should learn from the best. Ok, don’t get carried away. When someone is already at the top of Google’s search results, it means that he has done an excellent job. So take advantage of that and reflect on your competition.

Another simple yet helpful feature to look at is Google’s People Also Ask box. There you can find questions and problems directly related to the search query. And later, you can optimize your content for those questions. This way, you can improve the quality of your content by providing answers to similar yet different issues while using various keywords.

Why You Should Avoid These Keyword Research Mistakes?

If you conduct poor keyword research, you may miss out on the chance to rank well on Google. Therefore, it’s crucial to perform proper research and target the right keywords that will bring you maximum traffic and conversion. And as I said before, sometimes you need to help your potential consumers to recognize that they need your product or service even before they know it. At the end of the day, you should rank for the phrases your potential and current customers are actually searching for.

Bonus: if you want to boost your SEO, here’s the Ultimate WordPress SEO Checklist you need to follow.